Manga of the Month: D.Gray Man

D.Gray Man (ディー・グレイマン) by Katsura Hoshino

Every time I get a new volume of D.Gray Man, I think to myself why don’t more people read this? I realize it is not an unpopular series but it also doesn’t seem to have really stuck around. This may be partially due to it moving from the prominent Weekly Shonen Jump magazine to the monthly Jump Square. There is a lot of shonen fighting manga out there, so it is easy to miss one. And besides that, picking and choosing what is worth settling in the long haul with can be difficult.

D.Gray Man combines supernatural powers and occult lore with the shonen fighting formula. The gothic and macabre designs are well utilized giving life to everything from the obvious horror to less imaginable whimsy and humor. The art overall is a real treat in the series; the details in the European setting to costume and architecture are wonderful. Allen Walker possess a power called Innocence that can be harnessed to defeat demons and the like. The organization known at the Black Order recruits people with these gifts in an ongoing war against the Millennium Earl and his dark minions. Even before Allen joins their ranks, it is clear that there are many secrets to each side and to Allen himself. Allen is a positive lead who has a lot of charm about him; he is very honest and possesses a lot of heart. He isn’t the type of character who you forget about to concentrate on the support personalities. But he does have an electric group of people around him. The series utilizes everyone and the setting well, even pushing the grotesque monsters and violence pretty far at times. And it has a lot of mystery in the undercurrent which slowly reveals itself.

At just 22 volumes so far, D.Gray Man isn’t too much of a commitment compared to its brethren. (And VIZ is almost in line with the Japanese, releasing the 21st volume in November.) Within its pages is a solid journey that doesn’t drag and reveals its twists and turns in good time. Add in a good cast and artwork that begs to be looked at in detail and I find I can’t resist D.Gray Man.

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3 thoughts on “Manga of the Month: D.Gray Man

  1. Ho-Ling says:

    The first couple of volumes, with their early Inu-Yasha-esque short horror-stories, were the most fun IMHO and I think I dropped D.Gray-man around volume 12 or 13. It was entertaining, but I just never felt the urge to continue with the series.

    Ever seen/read Houshin Engi (I think the anime is known as Soul Hunter in the US)? The colorful cast (with special powers) and team-based large scale battles between two parties in that series should also appeal to someone who likes D.Gray-man. And Taikoubou is just awesome.

    • reversethieves says:

      In the D.Gray Man volume I just read (18) there is a little phantom thief arc which just renewed my enjoyment of the series!

      I have heard of Houshin Engi (which they kept the Japanese title for the U.S. manga) and seen it on the shelf but haven’t picked it up. Now I’ll keep it in mind!

      -Narutaki

  2. xsylveonx says:

    I am starting an anime review website, and I stumbled upon on your great site and caught my attention in the DGrayMan.

    I have read D Gray Man from before, and It got my interest from the start. I even bought a DVD for me to watch its anime, and continue to the manga.

    This anime/manga is just awesome, but not as awesome as the popular ones nowadays, it lacks “something” for me?, but I think this anime is just “underrated”, many others that dont know this exist but they will surely enjoy it

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